By Jim Rice, Seward County Commission
As a farmer or rancher, have you ever stopped to think what would happen “if” you were suddenly restricted from the use of your property? What would happen if that restriction was placed upon you at the prime time of planting or prime grazing? What if your access to a property was denied because use of the access “might” disturb or endanger the habitat of a wildlife species?
What would be the effect on your county tax base as a result of reduced productivity of farm and ranch land or perhaps a reduction in mineral production due to mandated restrictions? What if it became impossible to construct transmission lines or electric production facilities, pipelines or a new pasture fence and stock tanks?
This is not a far out possibility, as I see it. We could all be forced into a management plan that has nothing to do with efficiency or production. The pending listing of the Lesser Prairie Chicken on the endangered species list is something all landowners, mineral producers, electric companies, tenants, property owners and tax payers should be very concerned about, especially if you have property in or along a designated LPC area.
As I see it, production could be prohibited for a portion of, or perhaps for the entire year? As it stands currently, you have no or very little say in your future. Remember what happened to producers in California and the end result of that little minnow being listed as endangered?
Hopefully, there is a brighter side to this story? You do have a local group working on your behalf. Land owners, tenants, royalty producers, energy companies and anyone that has an interest or investment in production of any kind from the land should be interested in joining in this local group.
The newly formed Kansas Natural Resources Coalition, KNRC, is a group of western Kansas counties and county commissioners that have been working to resolve the LPC listing by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, USFWS. To date, 32 counties in western Kansas have joined forces. A small committee selected from those member counties has done an inordinate amount of research, produced documents and hand delivered those documents to proper USFWS authorities in Washington D.C. The documents not only point out the law, but detail the steps required by law, prior to making any determination on the listing of the LPC by USFWS. After reviewing a small portion of those documents, I have a feeling this is the first time USFWS has ever seen anything like this and is not quite sure how to proceed at the moment, perhaps not? Let’s just say KNRC is holding their feet to the fire.
As government rules and regulations continue to intrude our rural way of life, our liberty and our freedoms, I can see a real need for KNRC, not only today on the LPC issue but in coming days and years on many issues involving our land and our ability to continue production from that land. When you control the land you control the people.
KNRC needs your support and help to continue the efforts. Contact KNRC President, Ken Klemm:
or your local county commissioner. Ask if they are a member of KNRC and if not ask them why not? Ask how you can help? I believe KNRC is a great investment in our future and that of future generations.